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East St. Louis finds stride in second half to push past CBC

BELLEVILLE — Antwan Robinson didn’t play well on Saturday afternoon.

Not after the fight that had just unfolded over four quarters against CBC.

East St. Louis boys’ basketball team senior guard Robinson homed a breakaway dunk last summer to give the Flyers a 66-54 win over the Cadets at Lynx Arena on the Lindenwood University-Belleville campus grant.

“It was one of those chippy games,” said Robinson. “I wouldn’t hold it.”

East St. Louis (16-4), the No. 1 major school in STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, has won seven straight games and eight of their last nine games. The only loss in this stretch came at state-ranked Moline.

It’s the first time the Flyers have defeated the Cadets in six games since 1999. CBC earned a 60-54 win on its home court last January.

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CBC (11-9) had pulled off a stunning win over Vianney on Friday night when senior guard Calvin Ross threw a runner at the buzzer. The Cadets opened Saturday’s game with plenty of energy, leading midway through the first quarter and fighting back from a six-point deficit in the second quarter to take a 28-26 lead at halftime.

East Side had a lot to talk about in the dressing room and coach Mark Chambers wasted little time following up.

“We went into the dressing room and the coaches were on our asses,” Robinson said. “We really had to turn it around. It was us against us. It’s always us against us.”

Junior guards Nassir Binion and Anthony Gause have been two catalysts for CBC this season and were strong early on. Binion finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Gause had 14 points, two assists and two steals.

The cadets made their hay by accelerating the fliers at either end. CBC wanted to get on the pitch quickly on offense and East St. Louis only adjusted after the break.

“We made it a halffield game against them,” Chambers said. “They beat us badly in the transition phase in the first half. We went halfway and it kind of changed the game.

East St. Louis beat CBC 17-9 in the third quarter when 6-foot-10 senior center Cameron Boone made his presence felt with a putback and a two-handed jam. Senior swingman and Kansas State recruit Macaleab Rich continued his hot game as he scored eight of his game best 25 points in the third quarter. Rich overwhelmed CBC in the paint while also hauling in 11 rebounds.

CBC played without sick second center Matt Michalski. So the Cadets played with a small lineup that was best in transition and had to work a lot harder against the long and lanky Flyers defense on halfcourt.

Robinson finished with 14 points. Boone had six points, six rebounds and blocked four shots.

CBC closed within 45-39 when Binion knocked down a runner early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as it was going to get the rest of the way. Robinson scored seven of his 14 points in the final frame as the Flyers finally pushed forward.

“The coach told us at halftime that we were just going to go over the moves, so in the second half we wanted to come out, run our stuff and run,” Rich said. “We really stopped ourselves. We didn’t talk, we didn’t do anything, we didn’t do anything.”

CBC have strong scoring games from Binion and Gause but are still looking for more consistency from the rest of the lineup. Sophomore guard Terron Garrett had five points, three rebounds and two steals. Freshman guard Semaj Stampley started and finished with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

“We’re waiting for Ant and Nas to become more consistent and for Terron to have another breakout game,” said CBC coach Justin Tatum. “At the end of the day, my team lined up.”

It wasn’t the result the Cadets came across the Mississippi for, but it should help them stay in contention for the Metro Catholic Conference title. The league is on the move this winter and when the postseason begins, CBC, Chaminade and St. Louis U. High will all be competing in the same Class 6 district tournament. At this point, all signs of progress are positive.

“It’s exciting, we have a chance to fight for a conference championship at the end of the year,” Tatum said. “It’s always exciting to be in the conference (chasing) and have a chance to win.”

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